31 May 2009

Happy Holy Pentecost!

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Acts 2:1-21

When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs-- in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power." All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine."

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

`In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' "

John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Jesus said to his disciples, "When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

"I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But, now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, `Where are you going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you."

from The Lectionary Page - click HERE

29 May 2009

Barack Obama stops by Five Guys for some burgers


Mellon Foundation Grant supports the Chaco Digital Initiative

Mellon Foundation Grant Supports Digital Archive of Chaco Canyon

From the University of Virginia website, "UVA Today"

— by Elizabeth Wilkerson

May 14, 2009 — A University of Virginia-based digital archive of material from Chaco Canyon – a World Heritage Site many scholars regard as the most important archaeological region in North America – has received a $538,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Located in northwestern New Mexico near the Four Corners, the Chaco Culture National Historic Park comprises thousands of masonry structures built between A.D. 400 and A.D. 1250 by the ancestors of contemporary Pueblo people. The buildings range from small houses that might have sheltered a dozen or so inhabitants to great houses with multiple stories, hundreds of rooms and numerous "kivas" – round subterranean rooms used for gatherings and rituals.

U.Va.'s Chaco Digital Initiative currently documents the most important of the Chaco great houses, Pueblo Bonito, and four related settlements that were excavated between 1896 and 1945.

Although Chaco has one of the longest histories of archaeological research in the Americas, much of the information is scattered, with artifacts, images and written documents deposited in more than two dozen institutions from New Mexico to New York. Much of the early research was never published.

With the click of a mouse, a scholar now can view and compare Chaco information without traveling to distant locations.

There are still many fundamental questions about the canyon and its people, said Stephen Plog, David Harrison III Professor of Historical Archaeology at U.Va. He is principal investigator of the project with Worthy Martin, co-director of U.Va.'s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities and associate professor of computer science.

A central question is how the people used Chaco – as a site for seasonal gatherings for important rituals, the prevailing theory, or as a year-round community, a theory that Plog says closer investigation through the archive supports. And there are smaller questions: "How are the small houses different from the great houses? What was happening in the great houses? Were there hearths, were there storage pits, were there artifacts that suggest that a particular space was a room where people were living or a room where they were storing ceremonial materials?" Plog said.

Archaeological work in the canyon began in 1896 and continued throughout much of the 20th century. Today, with new attitudes and new techniques in archaeology, and in deference to the beliefs of the Pueblos that their ancestors and their lands should not be disturbed, preservation is encouraged over excavation. The digital archive at U.Va. is helping scholars decipher the clues to the puzzles of Chaco.

Read it all HERE

Archbishop Rowan Williams' Reflections on Pentecost

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, gives his thoughts on Pentecost, the seventh Sunday after Easter, is 'the moment when the friends of Jesus discover that they can communicate to all sorts of people they never thought that they would be speaking to'.

27 May 2009

Ever wonder why priests wear black? ...Rerun of Father Matthew, "man in black" video

Episcopal priest, Father Matthew Moretz gives a possible answer to why Episcopal priests wear black most of the time.

Thanks Johnny!

Father Matthew's new church is at www.ccrye.org

Congrats to the Rev. Charles L. Fischer III! Director of Virginia Seminary's Alumni Affairs and Annual Fund Giving!


Media Contact: Susan Shillinglaw
Tel: 703-461-1764
Email: sshillinglaw@vts.edu

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Virginia Theological Seminary has announced the appointment of the Rev. Charles L. Fischer III as the new Director of Alumni, Annual Fund and Church Relations in the Office of Institutional Advancement. This new position is the result of two merged positions: Director of Alumni Affairs and Church Relations and Director of the Annual Fund. Fischer steps into his new position on July 1, 2009.

The Search Committee that selected Fischer included the Rev. Lonnie Lacy, the immediate past-president of the Alumni/Alumnae Executive Committee (AAEC), a present co-chair, the Rev. Blake Rider, of the Class Stewards, faculty representative, the Rev. A. Katherine Grieb, and two representatives from Institutional Advancement.

Fischer received his M.Div. from Virginia Seminary this past Thursday. He has distinguished himself as a campus leader, serving this past year as the Student Body President.

“I have valued Charles’ voice and perspective in our regular meetings,” stated the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of Virginia Seminary. “As we faced the economic upheaval of last fall, it was Charles who stepped forward to challenge the student body to give to the Annual Fund. Because of his efforts, 100% of the Middler Class made a gift or pledged to the unrestricted Annual Fund. That’s leadership we can bank on!”

Read it all HERE

26 May 2009

Pentecost: How does your church make this Sunday come Alive!?

World's first tuition-free university opened its doors this month

I am constantly looking for more effective ways of doing things, and it seems that what is needed most right now is for innovative people to come up with and implement creative and effective ideas which might transform institutions. This may sound threatening, or (alternatively) exciting, but certainly people such as Buddha, Jesus, Luther, St. Francis, the Founders of the United States and others were not willing to accept the status quo as divinely inspired.

Certainly schools, and the Church, business, and the non-profit world are in need of this "stirring of the pot" these days, and one unexpected positive result of our economic crisis is that we might be forced to be more efficient and more inventive in our institutions. I ran across the following item on the "Interfolio Blog" and thought it was quite interesting....

From the Interfolio blog:

This month marked a milestone in higher education history as the world's first tuition-free university opened its "doors" and began enrollment. University of the People, or UoPeople, is an "online academic institution dedicated to the global advancement and democratization of higher education." Using a combination of open-source courses, open-source software and volunteer academics, the university will offer two degrees this year: computer science and business administration.

UoPeople was founded to combat the global skyrocketing of higher education costs. University President Shai Reshef explained in a recent interview that "for hundreds of millions of people around the world higher education is no more than a dream, a dream that can never be materialized. Financial constraints make it impossible to go to higher education and for others there are not enough institutions in the place they live."

The university will allow students worldwide access to higher education. All that is needed is demonstrable proficiency in English and a high school diploma, along with access to a computer and internet connection. And with many developing countries focused on building broadband infrastructures, access to e-learning and online universities will increase significantly in coming years.

UoPeople is backed by the United Nations' Global Alliance for Information and Communications Technology (GAID) and aided by a number of well-known academics, including Jack Balkin, who teaches Constitutional Law at Yale Law School, and Russell S. Winer, who chairs the department of marketing at New York University's Stern School of Business.

Only two weeks into registration, the university has already enrolled 200 students from over 51 countries, and Reshef's goal is to grow the school to 15,000 students within 4 years. This is at least a very exciting project, and we will be keeping an eye on this new venture. We welcome thoughts from you on what this kind of institution could mean for the future of global access to higher ed and any comments you have on how successful the school can be. Let us know what you think!

Christian Joy: God’s unconditional love for us

Christian joy is not tied to a particular object, but to the experience of God’s unconditional love for us. Christian joy comes from knowing God and from trying to follow God’s will. Joy means rejoicing in God. But we can see from the Magnificat that, when Mary rejoices in God, she is also celebrating the liberating action of God in history. Mary rejoices in a God who is faithful to the poor. Our service of others must be wrapped in this joy. Only work embraced with joy truly transforms.

Gustavo Gutierrez, America magazine, 2.03.2003

25 May 2009

Syracuse wins the National Championship in Division 1 Mens' Lacrosse with an amazing comeback

From the New York Times:

With a Late Rally, Syracuse Defends Its Title

Published: May 25, 2009

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Syracuse attackman Cody Jamieson wound up his patented left-handed shot and did not even have to look to see the result. He was so confident that his point-blank offering in overtime had delivered back-to-back national titles for the Orange that he raced to celebrate with his best friend, Syracuse defenseman Sid Smith.

“I knew it was going to go in, so I took off running to try and find Sid,” Jamieson said.

Jamieson’s goal 1 minute 20 seconds into overtime Monday capped a furious four-goal run that gave the Orange a 10-9 overtime victory and the program’s 11th national title. From overcoming a three-goal deficit in the game’s final four minutes to scoring the chaotic tying goal with 4.5 seconds left in regulation, Syracuse produced plenty of mystical moments.

But few were sweeter than when the two biggest stars of overtime, childhood friends from the same Canadian reserve, locked in a celebratory embrace.

“We just looked at each other and said that we did it,” Jamieson said. “This is the reason why I came here. It felt good to win it with him.”

And just as when they played on the reserve in Six Nations, Ontario, the two old friends stole the show. Jamieson’s overtime winner came only because Smith, the unsung hero of the team, deftly stripped Cornell’s Ryan Hurley after the Big Red won the opening face-off of the extra period.

The Six Nations connection capped an improbable comeback for Syracuse, which did not lead until the final goal and looked listless on offense for most of the afternoon.

But there is an ethereal quality to the Syracuse program that tends to manifest itself on the biggest stages. That was never more clear than Monday, when the Orange delivered the program’s first back-to-back national titles since 1990.

Read it all HERE

Remembering those who served and serve on Memorial Day

Normandy, 1997
Photo Credit: Peter Carey

24 May 2009

Preach the Gospel at all times; Use Words - St. Francis (?)

hat tip to Episcopal Cafe...

Francis of Assisi is said to have said, "Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words." Maybe not.

Mark Galli says in ChristianityToday.com "Many have noted how Francis modeled his life on Jesus. But it wasn't just about the life of poverty, but also the life of preaching."

He began preaching early in his ministry, first in the Assisi church of Saint George, in which he had gone to school as a child, and later in the cathedral of Saint Rufinus. He usually preached on Sundays, spending Saturday evenings devoted to prayer and meditation reflecting on what he would say to the people the next day.

He soon took up itinerant ministry, sometimes preaching in up to five villages a day, often outdoors. In the country, Francis often spoke from a bale of straw or a granary doorway. In town, he would climb on a box or up steps in a public building. He preached to serfs and their families as well as to the landholders, to merchants, women, clerks, and priests—any who gathered to hear the strange but fiery little preacher from Assisi.

He apparently was a bit of a showman. He imitated the troubadours, employing poetry and word pictures to drive the message home. When he described the Nativity, listeners felt as if Mary was giving birth before their eyes; in rehearsing the crucifixion, the crowd (as did Francis) would shed tears.

Contrary to his current meek and mild image, Francis's preaching was known for both his kindness and severity. One moment, he was friendly and cheerful—prancing about as if he were playing a fiddle on a stick, or breaking out in song in praise to God and his creation. Another moment, he would turn fierce: "He denounced evil whenever he found it," wrote one early biographer, "and made no effort to palliate it; from him a life of sin met with outspoken rebuke, not support. He spoke with equal candor to great and small."

Read the rest here.

21 May 2009

Check out VTS graduation online - Bishop Barbara Harris at Virginia Theological Seminary

Click HERE or go to www.vts.edu

Bishop Barbara Harris to Address Class of 2009 at Virginia Seminary's 186th Commencement

Media Contact: Susan Shillinglaw
Tel: 703-461-1764
Email: sshillinglaw@vts.edu

Alexandria, VA - Bishop Barbara Harris will address the Class of 2009 at Virginia Theological Seminary’s 186th Commencement ceremony on May 21, 2009. Sixty-one graduates will receive degrees of either Master in Divinity, Master in Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Christian Education/Youth Ministry, Doctor of Ministry, Post-Graduate Diplomas in Anglican Studies, or Certificate of Work Accomplished.

When she was consecrated as bishop in 1988, Barbara Harris became the first African American woman to be ordained bishop in the Anglican Communion. She has previously served as Bishop Suffragan in the diocese of Massachusetts before retiring in 2002, and as an Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of Washington after retirement. For more details on Bishop Harris’ background, please visit http://www.edow.org/diocese/bishops/harris_bio.html.

For the second year in a row, Virginia Seminary will be streaming the commencement ceremony in its entirety through the VTS website (www.vts.edu). If you are unable to be present on Thursday, please join us online at 10:00 a.m.

Founded in 1823, Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest of the 11 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church. The school prepares men and women for service in the Church worldwide, both as ordained and lay ministers, and offers a number of professional degree programs and diplomas. Currently, the Seminary represents more than 40 different dioceses and five different countries, for service in the Church.

19 May 2009

In gratitude to Bishop Peter James Lee

from Dean Markham's Deans Commentary:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


In 1985, Bishop Peter James Lee became the 12th Bishop of Virginia. At the same time he joined the Board of Trustees of the Seminary. In 1993 he became the Chair of the Board of the Trustees. Having announced his decision to retire as Bishop of Virginia in October, he has also decided that he will not make himself available for reelection as Chair this May. Therefore this Board meeting will be his last.

Bishop Lee graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1967. His love for Virginia Seminary has always been at the heart of his ministry and leadership in the church. The values that shape his own ministry have been part of his careful oversight of the Seminary. He has consistently witnessed to a faith which is Biblical and orthodox, yet open and generous. He believes deeply in the obligation to be in conversation and communion, especially when it is difficult. He has served faithfully the Episcopal Church and wants a Church large enough for conservatives and liberals to live together. And this witness, these beliefs, and his devotion to the Episcopal Church have shaped the values of the Seminary.

Tonight the Board of Trustees and the Faculty will hold a dinner in honor of Bishop Peter James Lee and Mrs. Kristy Lee. It is with gratitude that we celebrate a ministry of remarkable distinction and service.

The Very Rev Ian Markham

Dean and President